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They're skilled, but that's about it - 60%

MikeyC, September 6th, 2008

This is the newest effort by death metal titans Kataklysm. Now, if you’ve heard their last effort In The Arms Of Devastation, and didn’t like it, then you may want to skip over this one, as everything about this album is basically the same as that one, in every way.

Having said that, this is probably the better of the two. It’s almost like Kataklysm recorded all the songs from here and their last album at the same time, and gave Prevail the better cuts. I use the term “better” loosely, though. The opening title track kicks off with speed and fury, and is one of the better tracks here. The closer instrumental is a nice way to finish the album.

The problem here is that everything else is not memorable enough. Occasionally there might be a riff or a section that will stick in your head momentarily, but nothing here has any lasting power. There is nothing about the album where you can think back and say, “that was a good song because of this or that.”

That’s not to say that the musicians here are bad or anything. The drummer is very tight, and knows his way around the kit. The guitarist can certainly play with precision and sharpness. The bass…well, you can hardly hear it, like on many other death metal albums, but he seems to be defined, just like the guitars. The vocalist is the obvious weak link of the band; he sounds very tired and needs to try some new techniques. He’s not the worst I’ve heard, not by a long shot, but he could be more diverse.

So the drummer is tight, the guitarist is precise and the bass is defined. And there-in lies the problem: it’s just so boring. At the commencement of each song, you’re hoping for something new and exciting. That partially occurs on “To The Thrones Of Sorrow”, but everywhere else, it doesn’t. But you’re not quite let down, either. It’s a situation where there’s nothing wrong here, and nothing is bad, but it’s just so by-the-numbers and technically fixed that you’re constantly praying for anything unexpected to come around, even if it means a mistake in the recording process. This is one great mediocre album, and while it’s better than their last effort, there is still much room for improvement.

Best tracks: Prevail, To The Throne Of Sorrow, The Last Effort